Featured News



Building on $10 beans

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The buying continued this week, with all grains posting healthy gains. Beans continued their rally and are up $1.80 per bushel from Aug. 10. Several reasons for the huge run up are the low potential yields, big purchases by China and possible adverse weather in South America during their upcoming growing season.

Corn seems to be along for the ride. There have been some nice export sales, but corn yield potential looks pretty good at this point.

Early harvest reports

As the corn harvest begins, early observations suggest that areas that looked very good in July haven’t been impacted much by the late August heat. Even the areas that were dry in both July and August are seeing yields generally in line with what farmers were expecting.

Early bean harvest reports are limited and show wide-ranging yields. So far, many farmers are disappointed with early yields, a few say it’s better than average.… Continue reading

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Bacon battle between hog producers

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

It’s been said that a lawsuit is a machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.

That’s an appropriate analogy for the complaint, filed in mid-August 2020, by Maxwell Foods (a subsidiary of Goldsboro Milling of North Carolina) against Smithfield Foods (purchased by the Chinese company, WH Group in 2013), alleging breach of the production sales agreement (PSA) by failing to pay a fair price for hogs as well as purchase output required by the agreement. (This little piggy went to market below price; this little piggy stayed home in violation of the PSA.)

            A few days prior to the initiation of legal proceedings in North Carolina’s Wayne County Superior Court, Maxwell Foods announced it would begin shutting down hog operations and permanently closing by mid-2021 due to “projected financial losses.”… Continue reading

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American Farm Bureau Foundation launches “Easy Button” for elementary ag education

New at-home learning resources are now available to parents and teachers clamoring for content. The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture unveiled a new webpage featuring weekly lesson plans dedicated to helping students in kindergarten through fifth grade learn where their food comes from while helping parents and teachers keep children engaged.

“We are thrilled to be launching this weekly series of virtual learning tools for parents, teachers and students,” sadi Daniel Meloy, AFBFA executive director. “Providing engaging lesson plans and exciting content helps support our goal at the Foundation for Agriculture to provide an ‘easy button’ for at-home learning during this time so many of us are juggling priorities while trying to ensure kids enjoy virtual learning.”

The resource page contains free weekly activities, which focus around a central theme and can be done independently of one another. The first lesson, which is live now, is titled “Who is a farmer?”… Continue reading

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University/industry partnership takes field scouting to the next level

It’s no secret that farming has become increasingly high-tech, but a partnership between The Ohio State University and an Ohio agribusiness is taking things even further with new field scouting technology that involves a drone and artificial intelligence (AI).

The Molly Caren Agricultural Center, home to the annual Farm Science Review (FSR), is no stranger to implementing new technology and best practices to optimize production and, more importantly, serving as a resource for Ohio and regional producers.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, FSR 2020 will be a three-day virtual show held Sept. 22–24 at fsr.osu.edu. Although the center is closed to the public, Molly Caren Ag Center farm manager Nate Douridas and his team have been conducting various research projects to ensure that Ohio remains at the forefront of agricultural innovation.

In partnership with Integrated Ag Services, a local agribusiness based in Milford Center, a new high-definition field scouting program is being studied using a drone equipped with AI software.… Continue reading

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Visit the Agronomic Crops Team at the (Virtual) Farm Science Review on September 22-24th

By Amanda Douridas, Mary Griffith, Jason Hartschuh, CCA, Elizabeth Hawkins, Ohio State University Extension

This year the Farm Science Review will be virtual for the first time in its nearly 60 year history. The virtual show takes place on September 22-24th and includes many livestreamed educational sessions and demonstrations, as well as recorded videos. The show is free to attend with a simple registration process. To register, start at fsr.osu.edu and click on the red box that will take you to the My Show Planner. For registration guidance, check out this quick video that demonstrates the process.

The Agronomic Crops Team will be at the virtual Farm Science Review and available to discuss agronomy related issues with visitors through a virtual portal. Once you have registered to attend the Farm Science Review, you can find the Agronomic Crops Team here. The main activities hosted by the Agronomic Crops Team include:

Virtual Agronomic Plots Tour: This year the Agronomic Crops Plots were planted as always, and visitors can take a 360 virtual reality tour of the plots.… Continue reading

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Your guide to virtual Farm Science Review

Find a comfortable seat and charge your device.

Farm Science Review is being held online this year because of COVID-19 concerns.

Although the Molly Caren Agricultural Center is closed to the public, you’ll be able to learn the latest agricultural technology and helpful farming techniques from more than 400 exhibitors—all for free on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

More than 200 free livestreamed and recorded talks and demos will be available online. You will have to provide your own steakburgers, milkshakes, or other FSR fare, though.

To access the content for this year’s show, Sept. 22–24, start at fsr.osu.edu. Some videos and other content will be available before the show begins. From inside a large scarlet banner at the top of the FSR homepage, choose from the following topic areas:

• Agronomy
• Ask the expert
• Conservation
• Educational resources
• Exhibitors
• Field demonstrations
• Livestock
• Safety, health, and wellness
• Small farms and gardening
• Youth/4-H
Hover your cursor over any of the topics and click to select.… Continue reading

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Implementing a month end closing process

By Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA, Partner at Holbrook & Manter, CPAs

Good financial practices are key to the success of your business, but too many businesses fail to implement them. Most business owners know that poor financial management is a major cause of poor business performance and growth, but still fail to carry out the financial tasks that are necessary to keep things running smoothly and successfully. Here are some ways to help implement these practices.

Begin by creating a month end close process with your accountant. This is done to prevent lost revenue, poor tax planning and missed financial opportunities. Beware: waiting until the end of the year to close out everything is often an overwhelming process. Trying to evaluate an entire year’s worth of transactions is a tedious process and often it is too late to do anything about any events that happened earlier in the year.

Try these tips for a streamlined month end close:

• Create a detailed closing schedule.… Continue reading

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Supply chain, U.S. trade policy, COVID-19 to be discussed during Farm Science Review

The U.S. trade policy, labor and immigration issues, agricultural commodity markets, and the food supply chain will be among the topics addressed at a panel discussion during the 59th annual Farm Science Review Sept. 22–24 at fsr.osu.edu.

The previously titled Tobin Talk, now The Talk on Friday Avenue, “Value Chains in Food and Agriculture,” on Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. at fsr.osu.edu, will feature comments from a panel of agricultural economists from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

The Talk on Friday Avenue is among a series of presentations at Farm Science Review to address topics relevant to the agricultural industry, from controlling weeds and managing beef cattle to reducing safety hazards on the farm and growing plants indoors in water, without soil.

As a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Farm Science Review will be exclusively virtual, so you can find out about the latest in farm technology and techniques from the convenience of your home.… Continue reading

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Corn versus soybean storage

By Carl Zulauf, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, Ohio State University, and Sanghyo Kim, Korea Rural Economic Institute

There is an increasing role of storage in marketing with the return of corn and soybean surpluses and the concern that storage is less profitable for soybeans than corn in the U.S. Concern particularly exists when storing beyond the South American soybean harvest. Return and risk to storing soybeans and corn are generally found to be similar. The few exceptions all favor soybeans, not corn.

Five previous studies have examined returns to storing both corn and soybeans. While each study finds returns to storing corn and soybeans differ, none test for statistical significance.

For this study, return and risk to storing corn and soybeans was examined for the two most common types of storage: cash storage and storage hedged with a short futures position that is offset when the stored crop is sold in the cash market.… Continue reading

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Century-old dream is modern reality on Dull Homestead Farm

By Matt Reese

In the late 1930s, 8-year-old Ralph Dull — the youngest of four children — felt as if he was on top of the world as he held the reins of a well-trained mule team, guiding them in the task of raking hay.

“Bob and Tom were the mules used for raking hay and they knew what to do so I didn’t have to do much,” Ralph said with a grin. “I wasn’t old enough to drive a tractor yet but felt pretty important driving the mules.”

Young Ralph would have had no way to comprehend the changes that were ahead for agriculture and the Montgomery County century farm he has always known as home.

Ralph’s father, Vernon Dull, and grandfather, Ira Brenner, purchased three parcels totaling 127-acres in 1918 and started farming the ground in 1919. The earliest days of the Dulls on the land included a diverse crop rotation and a variety of livestock, but Angus cattle were a key focus of the farm.… Continue reading

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Sycamore Hill Sesquicentennial Farm: Everybody needs a little bit of farm in their life

By Brianna Gwirtz, OCJ field reporter

To learn the history of Sycamore Hill Farm in Ashland is to take a step a back in time to Ohio’s earliest beginnings. In 1816, Philip and Mary Fluke and their four young children ventured west from Pennsylvania with a team of horses, two milk cows and whatever possessions their wagon could hold. Philip had purchased a 160-acre section of land for $2 an acre in Orange Township, Ohio and was on his way to create a new life for his family. After clearing paths through the virgin forest for his team to get through, Philip made it to his section of land, where he built a log cabin and started clearing the land to plant corn and wheat.

The land boasted fruit trees, planted with seeds from Johnny Appleseed, who had set up camp nearby. It was common to see Native Americans from the Delaware tribe passing along the trail by the farm, on their way to trading posts.… Continue reading

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A look at agricultural policies from 2020 presidential candidates

A new look into the priorities for rural America of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is revealed in responses to a questionnaire distributed by the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF asked the Republican and Democratic candidates to respond with their stances on several topics including trade, labor, regulatory reform and sustainability. Here are their responses to the topic of farm policy.

Question: Reliable food supplies and stable prices are critical for the United States’ long-term prosperity and economic well-being. Programs in the farm bill, set to be renewed in 2023, provide key safety net and risk management tools for farmers, as well as critical tools to help farmers implement resource-conserving practices on the farm as well as trade promotion programs that help us build new markets abroad. Sustained, effective and predictable policy through the farm bill is necessary to address the threats that farmers have faced historically and new threats we now face to provide a consistent food supply.… Continue reading

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Virtual Winter Leadership Experience offers new opportunities

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Ag Professionals Winter Leadership Experience is an opportunity to build personal and professional experience while networking with agricultural leaders. For next year’s event, participants will use a virtual platform to learn leadership skills to further their impact in their communities, Farm Bureau and agriculture.

The theme for the 2021 Winter Leadership Experience, slated for Jan. 29-30, is “Cultivating Progress in Times of Change.” The event, thanks to the support of Heritage Sponsor Nationwide and Platinum Sponsor Farm Credit Mid-America, will offer participants the capability to connect with industry leaders and see several exciting new opportunities to engage and network with others from around the state.

“Just as in past years there will be a lot of great ideas and lessons to take away from the Winter Leadership Experience,” said Charlie and Casey Ellington, chairs of the Young Agricultural Professionals State Committee. “The engaging speakers and diverse sessions that are lined up will give everyone a chance to learn from others as they look to grow personally and professionally.”… Continue reading

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USDA to provide additional direct assistance to farmers impacted by coronavirus

President Donald J. Trump and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced up to an additional $14 billion for agricultural producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) will begin Sept. 21 and run through Dec. 11, 2020.

“America’s agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump is once again demonstrating his commitment to ensure America’s farmers and ranchers remain in business to produce the food, fuel, and fiber America needs to thrive,” said Secretary Perdue. “We listened to feedback received from farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations about the impact of the pandemic on our nations’ farms and ranches, and we developed a program to better meet the needs of those impacted.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will use funds being made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act and CARES Act to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities.… Continue reading

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Century farms offer lessons for 2020

By Matt Reese

Amid all of the lunacy of 2020, I personally have found it useful to look back and see that none of the challenges we are facing are really new. All of the root causes of today’s problems have always existed and have been dealt with by our forefathers. And, in the case of those of us in Ohio’s agricultural present, our past was shaped on Ohio’s Historic Family Farms.

The Ohio Century Farm program started in 1993 as a joint effort between the Ohio History Connection, Ohio’s Country Journal and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Today the ODA’s Ohio Historic Family Farms program recognizes a farm that has been in the same family for: 100 to 149 years (Century Farm designation), 150 to 199 years (Sesquicentennial Farm designation) or 200 or more years (Bicentennial Farm designation).

Maybe you’ve seen the signs, or heard of the program, but these historic treasures of rural Ohio are often overlooked.… Continue reading

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DeWine signs Ohio coronavirus immunity bill

By Peggy Kirk Hall, director of agricultural law, Ohio State University Agricultural and Resource Law Program

It took five months of negotiation, but the Ohio General Assembly has enacted a controversial bill that grants immunity from civil liability for coronavirus injuries, deaths, or losses. Governor DeWine signed House Bill 606 on September 14, stating that it strikes a balance between reopening the economy and keeping Ohioans safe. The bill is effective in 90 days. 

The bill’s statement of findings and declaration of intent illustrate why it faced disagreement within the General Assembly. After stating its findings that business owners are unsure of the tort liability they may face when reopening after COVID-19, that businesses need certainty because recommendations on how to avoid COVID-19 change frequently, that individuals who decide to go out in public places should bear responsibility for taking steps to avoid exposure to COVID-19, that nothing in existing Ohio law established duties on business and premise owners to prevent exposure to airborne germs and viruses, and that the legislature has not delegated authority to Ohio’s Executive Branch to create new legal duties for business and premises owners, the General Assembly made a clear declaration of intent in the bill.… Continue reading

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USDA needs tools to help farmers

The American Farm Bureau Federation and 41 other agriculture organizations are asking Congress to ensure the USDA has the tools necessary to help farmers in times of crisis. The group sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting they immediately provide replenishment for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) through the continuing resolution. Without immediate replenishment, funding for farm bill programs could run out while farmers struggle against low commodity prices, natural disasters and the coronavirus pandemic.

“For decades, CCC has been regularly replenished to fund programs integral to the farm safety net that Congress has worked tirelessly to craft,” the letter states. “Producers count on programs like Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, Dairy Margin Coverage, Marketing Assistance Loans, conservation programs, and many others as they provide food, fuel and fiber for our nation. Without immediate CCC reimbursement, payments and programs would be significantly delayed, jeopardizing operations across the country.”… Continue reading

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The legalities of noxious weeds

The legalities of noxious weeds

By Ellen Essman, Ohio Law Blog, Agricultural & Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University

We have been receiving many questions about noxious weeds lately. This is meant to be a refresher about what you should do if noxious weeds sprout up on your property.

What are noxious weeds?

The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) is in charge of designating “prohibited noxious weeds.” The list may change from time to time, but currently, noxious weeds include:

  • Shatter cane (Sorghum bicolor)
  •  Russian thistle (Salsola Kali var. tenuifolia).
  • Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense ).
  •  Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa).
  • Grapevines (Vitis spp.), when growing in groups of one hundred or more and not pruned, sprayed, cultivated, or otherwise maintained for two consecutive years.
  • Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense ).
  • Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum).
  •  Cressleaf groundsel (Senecio glabellus).
  • Musk thistle (Carduus nutans).
  • Purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).
  • Mile-A-Minute Weed (Polygonum perfoliatum).
  • Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum).
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Cover Crop Champions & Cover Crop Driving Tour

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Cover Crop Champions is an educational initiative funded through a grant from the National Wildlife Federation. There are two Cover Crop Champions programs in Ohio.  One is in the northwest corner of the state, and the other is located in west central Ohio.

The program in Northwest Ohio is being overseen by the Conservation Action Project (CAP). CAP was started in 1988 and serves the seven-county corner of Northwest Ohio which includes: Paulding, Defiance, Williams, Henry, Fulton, Wood, and Lucas. The governing board is made up of farmers, ag retailers, and agency personnel with the goal of working to help farmers and ag retailers implement conservation practices in an economically sustainable way.

Abby Wensink is the coordinator of CAP, and is administering the Cover Crop Champions grant. Cover Crop Champions utilizes the knowledge of area farmers who are experienced with cover crops.

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Fall harvest tips

By John Fulton (FABE Associate Professor) and Elizabeth Hawkins (Extension Specialist)

Fall harvest is here and is one of the more exciting times of the year on the farm. Spending time sitting in the combine cab or delivering grain can be fun. However, harvest also brings about the opportunity to collect yield and other data from fields that can be valuable when evaluating individual fields for the year. Today, there is a lot of data collected throughout the growing season that can be beneficial as one evaluates each field and the impactful variables on yield and profit.

We would all like to see over 300 bushels of corn and 80 bushels per acre of soybeans consistently displayed on the yield monitor across an entire field. This year that will not happen as yield variability within and between fields is likely to be quite high for the 2020 harvest. However, to work towards reaching yield and profit goals, it is important to collect data that is beneficial for the farm operation to use during post-harvest evaluation.… Continue reading

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